NRW Minister President Armin Laschet hosted an iftar meal at the state chancellery on Wednesday evening to mark the start of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
"With my invitation, I would like to send a clear signal at a time when reservations about Islam are widespread," said CDU politician Armin Laschet. "The Muslim men and women who live here in their diversity and with their different biographies are part of our society."
According to the State Chancellery, it was the first time a North Rhine-Westphalian head of government had been invited to break the traditional fast. The reception was reportedly attended not only by devout Muslims who are particularly active in society in NRW.
Representatives of the church and Jewish communities were also invited, as well as state politicians and diplomats from predominantly Muslim countries.
The fasting month of Ramadan lasts this year from 16. May to 14. June. During this period, Muslim believers are called upon to abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and sexual intercourse from sunrise to sunset. In the evening, they often meet with friends and relatives to break their fast together (Arabic: iftar). Children, the elderly and sick, pregnant women and travelers, and soldiers at war are exempt from fasting.